Introducing the Hazaki
Guide on Honing Your Knives
Realigning the edge
As mentioned in the Knife Sharpening Basics article, a honing rod or steel is the best way of maintaining the edge of a sharp knife. You can’t use one to grind a new edge onto a blunt knife. If your knife is really blunt or chipped you need to use a more abrasive method like whetstones to get a new edge.
Read about how to sharpen a knife with a whetstone here.
Steels / rods are super quick and easy. Use one weekly at home, or daily in a professional kitchen. It only takes a few seconds once you’ve got the hang of it.
Honing Your Knives
STEP 1 : To safely use a honing rod, hold it vertically with the tip firmly planted on the counter. Place the heel of the blade against the top of the steel and point the knife tip slightly upward. Hold the blade at a 15‑degree angle away from the steel.
STEP 2: Maintaining light pressure and a 15‑degree angle between the blade and the steel, slide the blade down the length of the steel in a sweeping motion, pulling the knife toward your body so that the middle of the blade is in contact with the middle of the steel.
STEP 3: Finish the motion by passing the tip of the blade over the bottom of the steel. Repeat this motion on the other side of the blade. Four or five strokes on each side of the blade (a total of eight to 10 alternating passes) should realign the edge.
The MOST IMPORTANT thing is that you set your angle correctly at 15º for Japanese knives or 20º for Western knives.
What Types of Steel are Available?
Let’s look at the different types of steel on the market:
1. Steel Honing Rods
These are made of steel and normally have fine ridges running along the length. They work to hone an edge, but do not sharpen it. They are the least effective type, especially on hard Japanese steels, because they material they’re made of is soft compared to diamond and ceramic rods.
2. Diamond Rods
These are metal rods but covered in tiny industrial diamonds. These tend to be quite coarse / aggressive. This means they work quickly and can sharpen fairly dull knives. However, it also means they remove material quickly which, in our view, makes them unsuitable for regular use as they wear your blade down too fast. Also, the diamonds wear off after time, making the diamond steel less effective.
3. CERAMIC HONING ROD
By far the best type of rod to use, especially for Japanese knives. The ceramic material is much harder than any metal, so it can hone even the hardest Japanese steels. It has an abrasive surface equivalent to a 8000 grit whetstone, so is brilliant for refining the edge of a knife after a coarse or medium whetstone and slightly sharpens the knife.